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This “inclusivity” thing

Samantha Gervais

Assistant Opinions Editor

Photo via skims.com

In the year of 2023, it is rather hard to say someone doesn’t know the name “Kardashian.” Whether you like them or not is a totally different beast for the time being. The name I would like to draw the attention to today is the name of a woman I just recently learned the name of.


I recently discovered Candace Owens through a video that has gone viral and controversial. The reason it is controversial: she refers to the inclusivity of a model in a wheelchair as stupid.


Now, I will begin my writing of this article with this statement: I have never listened to any of this woman’s reporting before or anything pertaining to her, though watching the video, I do not believe I will go forward and do so. It is in my sincere opinion she owes the disabled community an incredibly profound apology.


Now let me explain why.


In this video, Owens explains how Kim Kardashian's clothing line “SKIMS” has come out with an adaptive line of shapewear, which in itself is a huge step for the disabled community. This is not something I expected to come from Kardashian, though a welcomed surprise, nonetheless.


The first thing that Owens states that made me raise a brow was, “I don’t really understand how far we’re going to take this inclusivity thing, I really don’t get it.” Now, anyone who knows me would know that that sentence rubs me the wrong way. To me, that is saying, “Well, why do we have to include everyone? This is ridiculous!”


She then goes on to say, “When I see stuff like this, I just go, ‘Whose idea was this, was it yours? Okay, you’re fired’ I’d like to fire the person who was behind this ridiculous campaign! And by the way, I think people in wheelchairs will back me up on this, I think they’re on my side!”


I can promise you, as a woman who is an ambulatory wheelchair user, I am nowhere near on this woman's side.


To have the minority group that you are a part of represented within an enormous company is invigorating. Not to mention, it makes us, in this case, the disabled community, feel seen, accepted and like we have a place. Much like anyone, the disabled community has fought our way to be in a position where we can be accepted in a place such as modeling.


For any RIC students who enjoy Owens, I respect your opinion. Though I feel her comments on this topic are repulsive, with Owens saying that inclusivity is being taken too far. Even if it wasn’t meant “the way she said it” it should have been worded a bit differently.


This made my blood boil, personally and continually. It is a sore spot to the people I’ve spoken to who also have disabilities and have seen the video, causing the internet to erupt in flames of anger.


In the future, I can only hope that Owens owns her ignorance and gives her due apology. She owes an apology to the disabled community for her ignorance on an adaptive clothing line that’s intention is for disabled people and including disabled people where they should also feel welcomed.


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